- 8 years ago
I have had questions regarding the centerpieces we did and so I thought I’d post a DIY to let everyone know how they were done.
I did make them myself. Depends on what you call "cheap" as to whether you want to go that way. Vase - about $15 (they were 4" square - 18" tall) usually found at Michaels or other craft places. Shop - try to buy off classifieds - look at ebay... Floralytes (battery operated lights) $2.50 each - 3 in each vase) $7.50 per vase.
I used Cracked-Ice type product for vase filler. Starts as a crystal and when hydrated fills the whole vase. The Cracked-Ice product is about $5.00 for several ounces at Michaels. I went to Water-Keep.com and bought 5 pounds of it for $19.95. It takes 2-3 tbsp per vase. I had a lot left over but think it's still cheaper to do it that way. I started with the vase - put water in the vase to about 6" from the top (once you put branches in it, that will make the water/crystals rise). You can add food coloring to the water if you want to - but do it before you put the crystals in. To do the blue we used 2 drops of blue and 1 drop of red. Then I dropped in the bottom floralyte. You have to turn it on. They will light for 4 days or more. Then add the 2 tbsp of crystals.
It will take several hours for them to turn into "cracked ice". Watch it. When the center gets pretty stable, you add the second floralyte. You may need something to push the floralyte into place. We used a fly swatter with a wire end and bent the end to use it as a pusher. Worked great. Then after the crystals get to the top, we set up a table to make the centerpieces on and as they were made we put them on the guest tables.
As to the branches. I bought them off of ebay after my disasterous experience on weddingbee.com where I purchased them and never got them. You can get 4 premium manzanita branches for $25 plus $25 shipping. (1 for each vase) $12.50 each. Be sure to tell the vendor that you want straight bottoms and want the tops to be well centered over the bottom. If they are one-sided they will turn over in these vases. If the bottom is crooked it won’t work either. The curly willow I found locally and a lady let me have the bottom branches of her tree for these centerpieces (sweet).
We had to spray paint the branches all silver. (Spray paint – about $7 a can and for the 24 branches I had, we used about 10-12 cans of spray paint, maybe more) (Be sure to buy ones of those trigger type devices
for the spray paint or your finger will fall completely off! We layed out huge tarps, layed all the branches on it, and spray painted away. After they were all painted, we started over and squirted Aleene's glue on them one at a time. Kinda up and down the branches and back and forth. Then we had a garbage bag with lots of silver glitter, I bought German glass glitter to add - it was expensive and probably not worth it - Silver sequins (good) and bugle beads (good). Probably 1/2 gallon - but I had tons of it left over. Put a big tarp under it to catch the overflow - roll the top of the garbage bag down and be SURE TO WEAR GLOVES OR YOU WILL NEVER GET THAT GLITTER OFF YOUR HANDS. AS a matter of fact - wear them the whole time.... Then we just heldthe branches over the glitter and reached in and drizzled handfulls of that glitter over the branch. Then stood the branches up in the big boxes they were shipped to us in to set and started the glue on the next branch. The glue will dry fast so dont try to get ahead of yourself with the glue process.
I bought the crystals off of ebay. Bought several huge lots - 700 - 800 crystals to a lot and some new ones - like 50-100 for $27.00 or maybe a little more but they were beautiful. I also found I could spray paint and glitter lots of things to put on those branches! Cheap ornaments and icicles from the Dollar Store are gorgeous painted and glittered! I think even cheap silk flowers could be glittered. We set up zip lock bags for the number of centerpieces we had and took the crystals and started dropping the same kind of crystals in each bag to try to evenly distribute them among the centerpieces so that they would have approximately the same amount and kind of crystals on them.
Anyway - you set a table up at the reception hall and make the arrangements all in one place. The glitter will get all over the place so keep that in mind. You might want to buy one of those cheap plastic tarps under the table you work off of to catch the extra glitter that will fall off.
Put the manzanita branch down in the vase - until where the branches spread out rests on the top of the vase so it won't topple. Then fill in with the curly willow and filler branches (which were also spray painted and glittered). Then we put the crystals on them that we had put into 24 separate bags to kinda make sure we had the same stuff on each of the centerpieces. After we finished we moved them to the guest tables and put the top light in at the top of the vase.
I figure we probably paid $75 or more per centerpiece plus a LOT OF WORK but they were as beautiful as any I have seen for more than triple the price. You can use any color food coloring and any color lights. When the crystals dehydrate they go back to their original form, but we just ditched ours when we were taking the stuff down.